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Smoked Seitan [Vegan]

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I can hear you skeptics now. Smoked wheat gluten? Believe it, people. This stuff looks and tastes like Texas brisket – or as close as a vegetarian version can come, anyway. With a nice crusty exterior, it’s even got the “burnt ends” of authentic barbecue. I served this at a party, and the guests – including meat eaters – were practically clawing at each other to eat the seitan, even before it hit the table.

Smoked Seitan [Vegan]

This Recipe is :

Dairy Free Vegan


  • 1 ½ cups vital wheat gluten
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons. ice water
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder

Liquid for simmering

  • 10 cups extremely cold water
  • 1/3 cups low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

Dry rub

  • 3 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp dry mustard powder

Barbecue sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt


Make Seitan

  1. Combine gluten and nutritional yeast in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together water, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, lemon zest and spices.
  2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine.
  3. Knead dough in the bowl for about 3 minutes until you have a spongy dough (this will look and feel like the most disgusting food ever). Excess liquid will accumulate in the bottom of the bowl, and that’s fine – just leave it in the bowl.
  4. Let rest for a few minutes, then shape into a log about 7 or 8 inches long. Cut into 3 pieces.
  5. Put the cold water and soy sauce in a large saucepan and gently put the pieces of dough in the liquid.
  6. Partially cover the pot and bring to a boil.
  7. Lower heat and simmer for one hour, turning the pieces occasionally.
  8. Let it cool for ten minutes, then remove the seitan.
  9. As soon as it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the liquid you can, being careful not to break the hunks of seitan.
  10. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap or place in a zip lock bag and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Rub and smoke

  1. Start a fire in your smoker. Soak wood chips (preferably hickory) for 45 minutes or more.
  2. Coat the seitan pieces in the dry rub mixture and put it on a grill basket or right on the grate.
  3. Throw some wood chips on the hot coals and close the cover.
  4. Smoke for 1 ½ hours, adding more soaked wood chips occasionally. If your smoker has a thermometer, keep the temperature at about 225.

Barbecue sauce

  1. Whisk the sauce ingredients together until sugar dissolves.
  2. Let the smoked seitan cool for 5 minutes, then slice, drizzle with sauce and serve plain or on buns.


It’s best served right after you smoke it – if you reheat it in an oven later, the edges will lose the crispiness.





Cathy Elton is a Brooklyn–based writer who has the rare blog that focuses specifically on heart-healthy food. She came to this subject the hard way, as a result of finding out she had hereditary heart disease in her 40s. But she turned her health problem into a cooking challenge and developed a heart-healthy vegetarian cooking style that’s still spicy, satisfying and adventurous. She shares her original recipes on What Would Cathy Eat?



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14 comments on “Smoked Seitan [Vegan]”

Click to add comment
3 Years Ago

Can you freeze it before you smoke it? How about grill instead of smoke?

4 Years Ago

I am going to try this!

Gregory Anderson
4 Years Ago

No. We won't......

Colleen Lewis
4 Years Ago

I would freak out if I ate anything with that familiar "texture"-never missed that or want to experience it again thanks-but if itll help meat eaters come over to the compassionate side-bring it!!!!

Wendy Mason
4 Years Ago

I have eaten gluten steak as I call it my whole life . Raised on it. . It's gorgeous crumbed and put through a mincer for spag Bol etc .

Eddie Delisio
4 Years Ago

So much protein the paleos get all jealous n snippy

Eddie Delisio
4 Years Ago

Seitan is awesome

Monika Scholze
4 Years Ago

Well, I did know how to make seitan till now. But because of this link I'm now busy turning seitan into Schnitzel and into a sosage to slice onto the bread. Looking forward to the result...smile

Kathleen Flanigan
4 Years Ago

I can't stand anything that resembles animal flesh, but I'll try my best to get meat eaters to test it.

Eric Lind
03 Dec 2013

Yup, the more comparable alternatives you provide to people the easier it is to get them to jump ship.

David Presley
4 Years Ago

I will be making this immediately!


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